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With: Herbert Marshall, Norah Baring, Phyllis Konstam, Edward Chapman, Miles Mander, Esme Percy, Donald Calthrop, Una O'Connor
Written by: Alma Reville, Walter C. Mycroft, Alfred Hitchcock, based on a novel by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 102
Date: 07/31/1930

Murder! (1930)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Druce, You Say

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This early talkie by Alfred Hitchcock, based on a novel by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson, is certainly entertaining, but it's a little sluggish and wordy and static, and doesn't quite feel like the Master at his best. In Murder!, a young actress Diana Baring (Norah Baring) is found, dazed, near the body of a rival actress, Edna Druce, blood on her clothes, and a murder weapon, a fireplace poker, on the floor. She's arrested and put on trial, but since Diana has no memory of the murder, and seems to be protecting someone, a jury quickly convicts her. But actor Sir John Menier (Herbert Marshall) is also on the jury, and the more he thinks about the case, the more he's not sure. So he gathers up unemployed stage manager Ted Markham (Edward Chapman) and his actor wife Doucie (Phyllis Konstam) to investigate further. Marshall, a classy actor who would later appear in Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise (1932), and Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940), brings a great deal to this table, and overall, it's worth a look-see. Alma Reville and Walter C. Mycroft co-wrote the screenplay with Hitchcock. Kino Lorber released it on a restored Blu-ray edition in 2019, complete with a commentary track by film critic Nick Pinkerton, an audio clip from Francois Truffaut's Hitchcock interviews, the German-language version of the film, also directed by Hitchcock, an introduction by Noël Simsolo, an alternate ending, and trailers.

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